In a remarkably short time, cloud computing has emerged as a hugely important evolution in the way thatbusinesses and individuals consume and operate computing. It’s a fundamental shift to an operational
model in which applications don’t live out their lives on a specic piece of hardware and in which resourcesare more exibly deployed than was the historical norm. It’s also a fundamental shift to a development and
consumption model that replaces hard-wired, proprietary connections among software components and theconsumers of those components with lightweight web services and web-based software access.In short, cloud computing refers to a convergence of technologies and trends that are making IT infrastruc-tures and applications more dynamic, more modular, and more consumable. That’s a big change that hasimplications that touch on just about every aspect of computing.For end-user customers, cloud computing provides the means to ramp up new services or reallocatecomputing resources rapidly, based on business needs. It means having the ability to run an application
either on-premises or off-premises (or a combination of the two) based on cost, capacity requirements,
and other factors. For software vendors, cloud computing offers new ways to deliver applications andreduce the friction associated with installing upgrades or additional modules.However, for something that is in many ways at the fore of where information technology is headed, itcan still be a challenge to get your arms around what cloud computing is exactly. The biggest stumblingblock is that while cloud computing as a high-level business concept and technology approach can bedescribed succinctly, it takes a variety of different forms that aren’t always obviously related to each other.Furthermore, the pains that cloud computing relieves aren’t necessarily the same for datacenter opera-tors, developers, and end-users; thus, what’s most relevant about cloud computing to you depends to some
degree on who you are and where you are located in an organization. Plus, of course, cloud computing is
young, and it continues to develop along many axes.This whitepaper aims to make sense of it all for audiences that haven’t been deeply involved in the details ofcloud computing as it has rapidly evolved. It lays out the characteristics of a cloud computing infrastructure.
It discusses some of the things that cloud computing isn’t, even if they’re often conated in customers’ and
prospects’ minds. It describes the forms that cloud computing can take and how different types of tech-nology providers and consumers of technology relate to each other.
Clouds today and tomoRRow
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) denes cloud computing as “a model for enablingconvenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of congurable computing resources (e.g., networks,servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimalmanagement effort or service provider interaction.” This denition, together with associated service and
deployment models, has emerged as a tough industry consensus of where cloud computing is headed.
Red Hat Cloud Foundations: Cloud 101
RH_CloudFoundations_Cloud101_wp_2972297_0610_cw.indd 36/17/10 10:36:46 AM